The Clowes Collection

The Clowes Collection has been exhibited for nearly half a century in the Clowes Pavilion at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). The IMA's acclaimed collection of European painting and sculpture comprises more than 500 works from the 12th through the 18th century, ranging in style from the Romanesque to the Rococo. Nearly one-fifth of these works constitute the Clowes Collection, recognized for its concentration of masterworks of the Italian, Spanish, Netherlandish and German schools. Notable pieces within the Collection include Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, Triumphant Entry of Constantine into Rome by Peter Paul Rubens and The Flight into Egypt by Claude Lorrain. 


Dr. George H.A. Clowes and Edith Whitehill Clowes developed the Collection through purchases dating back to the 1930's. For several decades, these paintings and objects graced their home, Westerley, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Following Dr. Clowes's death in 1958, the Collection became the property of The Clowes Fund and was first exhibited to the public at the John Herron Art Museum in 1959. Public viewings at Westerley followed until April 1972, when the Clowes Pavilion at the IMA was dedicated in memory of Edith Whitehill Clowes.

The late Alec Clowes, long-time president of The Clowes Fund, recalling his active involvement in the creation and design of the Clowes Pavilion, said "With a goal to recreate the original setting of the pictures at Westerley, we spent time replicating the study and drawing room—the two main rooms where art was displayed." He had a special affinity for the Clowes Pavilion because it was his first and most memorable experience as a Clowes Fund director. Alec said the Fund "made sure to spend the time, money, and effort necessary creating an interior to house the Collection rather than distribute art pieces around the museum."

The Clowes Fund's board of directors is committed to transferring ownership of the Collection to the IMA over the next decade. The value of pieces transferred to the IMA to-date is over $25 million.

In addition to the collection, the Fund's contributions to the IMA over the years have included approximately $5.3 million for construction and maintenance of the Clowes Pavilion and the Collection, plus an endowment of $500,000 in 1999 to establish the Allen Whitehill Clowes Curatorial Fellowship.

The Allen Whitehill Clowes Curatorial Fellowship

The Allen Whitehill Clowes Fellowship supports the scholarship and professional development of outstanding junior scholars who wish to pursue curatorial careers in art museums. Since 1999, Clowes Fellows have conducted scholarly research related to the Collection and gained curatorial training in the field of European painting and sculpture.


A special thanks to Ronda Kasl, former Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture before 1800, who was integral to the collection's preservation. Her dedication to overseeing the Clowes Fellows and her work as editor of the book Giovanni Bellini and the Art of Devotion, has exposed a new generation to the Clowes Collection. Giovanni Bellini and the Art of Devotion is available in hardcover or paperback at the IMA. Ronda carried on the tradition of care set by the Collection's first curator, Ian Fraser, which is now carried forward by curator and former Fellow Rebecca Long.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art 

For more than 125 years the IMA has served the community of Indianapolis through its collections and programs. Most recently it completed the development of the 100 Acres:  Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park which includes woodlands, wetlands and a 35-acre lake. Adjacent to the Museum, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of site-specific artworks.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is among the largest and oldest general art museums in the United States.

Founded in 1883, the Museum now boasts a permanent collection of more than 50,000 works of art that span the range and scope of art history. In addition to housing its world-class art collections, the Museum is also a premier showcase for national and international exhibitions.

Watch as Ian Fraser, former longtime curator of the IMA Clowes Collection, reminisces about the Collection, and the story of his own origins as a collector of silver pieces made by female artisans.